You might not think the first time you rode a bike or had your heart broken would have a flavour. Or if it did that mine and yours would taste the same. But of course we all have more in common than we like to think – including the smells and flavours we link to memories.
Harnessing this thought – and converting our milestone moments into cocktails – the Langham’s Artesian Bar has launched a new menu, gathering the flavours for each moment-cum-drink from a survey they conducted to over 500 people, all who took the time to carefully associate their palates with their experiences.
The result is a 17-strong list of cocktails charting from specific memories such as an 18th or 30th birthday, moving out of your parents’ house or retiring to more abstract concepts like falling in love, reflecting or discovering who you are.
As the team continually said as they unveiled the menu to a room of expectant press and industry, ‘we didn’t put these flavours to the memories, you did. We’re just using them in cocktails.’
“Our wish with Artesian Moments is to create a deeply personal menu for our guests; one that can be enjoyed collectively, but still inspire an individual memory. It was our customers' experiences and memories that helped create these drinks. You could say they were there all along, we just had to ask,” says Remy Savage, Head Bartender.
This menu is the first proper concept coming from the team that was installed late last year to take the reins of the bar which was once listed as the world’s best. Following a short few years in the wilderness, the Artesian has the air of a venue with its sights set on reclaiming that crown – or at least climbing back up the list.
The drinks may sound highly conceptual – indeed the one based around children leaving home lists tears as an ingredient, although we hear this is a syrup that mimics the salinity in human tears as opposed to the bartenders weeping into their cocktail shakers – but they’re presented with understated and rather beautiful simplicity.
It’s a trend very much sweeping London bars, whether they’re in five star hotels or on Haggerston’s High Street – the simple serve in classic glassware, shy of garnishes that add nothing to the drink except perhaps its Instagram-ability. Over here at DrinkUp HQ we think it’s a fantastic move as the collective bar industry takes a giant step away from twigs in our eyes and mini-pegs up our nostrils.
But serves and psychology aside, do the cocktails taste good?
In a word, yes. The team here have put together some well-balanced, light and quaffable cocktails. That first bike ride, by the way, pulls together gin, citrus, gangnam tops, lavender and iron sorbet while heading off on your travels has been converted into a drink of rum, papaya, noni, cardamom and monoi.
Our personal tip for summer drinking would have to be when you finally retire though. Grey Goose vodka, melon, geranium and absinthe blanche. Tastes exactly like we hope lounging in the sun with no prospect of work ever again will.